Quilts from Days Gone By

What do you do when you know someone hasn’t finished a project that needs finishing, and this person hasn’t finished it because he or she is not able?  Do you help?  If it’s something you specialize in, do you offer to finish it?  As it turns out, I’m guilty on all charges.  Not only did I offer to help, but I offered to finish these quilts.


It started out to be one quilt.  My husband’s Aunt Joyce has this quilt that she had started in the late 1980s, possibly in the early 1990s.  She was planning on giving it to her son when she finished, but she never finished it.  And… it was hand quilted… well, what she got done, which was most of it, was hand quilted.  All she had left to do was 2 borders and the cornerstones.

I’m not a hand quilter, and I haven’t been a hand quilter since I started my first full-sized quilt.  It’s just too hard on my hand and wrist and it takes waaaaay too long – I don’t have the patience for it.  But, Aunt Joyce is like a second mother to me, and I just can’t leave it unfinished for her son.  She’s in her mid 80s.  So, I offered to finish it for her.

When I was looking for the matching fabric for the borders that she had stashed away, I found a quilt top that looked very much like the hand-quilted one.  I figured I could finish that, even though it needs to be quilted entirely, by machine pretty quickly… probably sooner than the hand-quilted one.  I think I’m going to quilt feathers into the borders – there are plenty of wide open spaces.


I didn’t know which side is the top, so I put the blocks that I thought might have the most stretch at the top, specifically the block with the hexagons.  That way I can try to tame it before it gets “stretched in” to the bottom.


I hope I can do this quilt justice.  The blocks were hand pieced.  This is one of those dilemmas where you don’t want to sabotage a hand-pieced quilt with machine quilting, so what do you do?  I don’t have time to hand quilt it, so it’s going to have to be machine quilted.  I will, of course, continue to hand-quilt the one that was started that way.  I think it would bastardize it at this point to machine quilt it since most of it is hand quilted.

What are your thoughts on machine quilting a hand-pieced quilt top?  Tough Decision, huh?




Charity Quilt

Finally got the charity quilt done that I’ve been working on to be donated to Safehome.


I quilted paws all over it to go with the cat theme.



This quilt is so apropos since Safehome is building a pet shelter. If you are interested, you can help them build the shelter by donating here.   They still need over $10,000 to go before they can build the shelter

Final February Book Review

I have 2 books to share today, Strip Savvy by Kate Henderson and Candy Store and More by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.


When I first looked through Strip Savvy by Kate Henderson, the quilts made me think of Modern Quilts.  I don’t consider myself a modern quilter (although you might not agree when you look at some of my quilting), but this book made me “look again.”  Kate uses jelly roll strips, those 2 1/2 inch strips, for all the quilts in this book.  Well, isn’t that a new take on Modern?  Personally, of all the pre-cut fabric out there, I like jelly rolls the best and have not seen them used in the way Kate uses them.  One of my favorite parts of her book, I hate to admit, is how she “collects” 2 1/2 inch strips – no, I’m not going to tell you… you’ll have to read the book to find out!  And, she tells how she stores her strips and small scraps that she gets from… yes, jelly roll strips!

Personally, I love Log Cabin blocks, so her “Ocean Waves” quilt was my favorite.


Her Butterfly quilt is cute. https://i2.wp.com/www.martingale-pub.com/product/images/B1231/Pg47_Butterflies.jpg

And, here’s the back cover to get more of an idea of what’s inside.


To find out more about Kate Henderson, check out her blog at http://neverenoughhours.blogspot.com/.  You can buy this book here.

Candy Store and More by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine is the other book on the Fourth and Final February review…


As I perused the pictures of this book before really looking, I thought the quilts all looked so authentic, like they had actually come from another time period, the 1930s and 40s.  I knew the fabrics were re-creations, but the patterns made me feel like I was in a time warps.  As I looked further, I realized these ladies had actually done a LOT of research for this book.  Their patterns are from old newspaper clippings that they have scattered throughout this book and from vintage quilts that they have collected.  They use the same color strategies, but twist them and turn them around a bit.


There is a quilt with embroidered butterflies on it.  Not only do they provide several different butterflies to choose from when embroidering your block, but they show you how to embroider the stitches.

I hate to admit this, but as a quilter, one of the most fascinating things I found in this book was how to actually quilt the quilt.  Instead of “quilt as desired” when you are done with the quilts, they provide examples of motifs to use on the entire quilt for these quilts.  Do you know how hard it is to find examples for quilting vintage quilts?  Our customers may pick up these vintage quilt tops and hope we can do them justice with our quilting, but if we don’t have a quilting design that looks vintage (even though we are quilting it on our machines instead of by hand), then I feel like we haven’t given the quilt the personality it needs.


If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here.

Photographs provided by Martingale, courtesy of their photographer Brent Kane

P.S.  This weekend’s post will be about Ibby’s quilt.  Wait til you see it!  I don’t think my quilting did her quilt the justice it deserves, but wait until you see it.  I doubt you pay much attention to my quilting, because she did a bang up job on it!  It’s gorgeous!


Kitchen Stitches

Last week I reviewed Martingale’s Cute Quilts for Kids.  This week I will be showing you some of Kitchen Stitches, which was compiled by Karen M. Burns.

I don’t know about you, but where I live the quilters here get together to sew and socialize a lot, and it seems to revolve around food.  So, when Martingale asked me to review this book, I thought this would be a good book for all of us to have in our own libraries.


The cover shows the French Farmhouse Chef patterns to carry bread, a pattern to wrap your bread to keep it warm after you’ve cut it, and an apron that resembles a feed sack.  Take all that to this bistro table (below) with the cute tablecloth and matching fork napkins and you’ve got yourself an Italian Dinner.  Mouth watering yet?


This tea cozy with matching place mats would be so cute when you’re all gathered around the kitchen, taking a break from quilting, don’t you think?


And, look at this coupon keeper.  It looks like you could also get ideas for making your own purse with this pattern.  An added bonus with this book…


As I looked through this book, my eyes widened with oohs and ahhs and the satisfaction that somebody finally thought of this!  Not only did I find cute pot holders, pan handle holders, place mats, napkins, and coasters,  I also found cozies for tea, casseroles and a crock pot.  Aside from the apron on the cover, there is one made from an up-cycled shirt – cool!  And, there are kitchen decor items to spice up your kitchen.  I’m so glad it is part of my library now!


You can get your own copy of Kitchen Stitches at Martingale’s website here or at for your Kindle at Amazon.

Decorating with Fabric

Since I haven’t had any quilts to work on lately, I’ve been busy with other fabric-related things…  My Mother-in-Law passed away in October, and we have been very busy clearing out her house.  My husband doesn’t “get” my knack for feeling sorry for left-outs, which includes inanimate objects.  This was one such object.  I didn’t think to take a “before” picture, so in this photo, I put the old fabric on it and took a picture.

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After I stripped it of the fabric, I was surprised to find caning in the back of the chair.  It was obvious to me that the wood used for the back of the chair was Quarter-Sawn (or Tiger Eye) Oak, which was popular back in the Victorian Era.  When I took the fabric off, I also noticed a sticker that reads “Murphy Chair Company – Detroit, Michigan.”  I googled it and found that it was a company in Detroit around 1900.  Woah!  Anyhow, after looking at several chairs like this, I imagine it had a needlepoint seat covering.  I was giving this to our daughter, though, and I already had fabric to go with her decorating taste, so I used that.

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We also inherited 3 rocking chairs.  One of them was covered with orange fabric, which is great for Autumn when we inherited it, but didn’t go with any body’s home decor.

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I have always wanted to reupholster a chair, so I got the opportunity to do just that with this chair.  Here’s what it looks like now.  I don’t normally like to paint over wood unless it is butt ugly.  This wood did nothing for the chair, so I painted it black and then distressed it to expose parts of the wood.

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Keeping the tradition of showing the back of a quilt, here is the back of the chair.

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This, too, is going to my daughter’s house.  We already had 1 rocking chair inside and 2 on the porch, so now with the other 2 rocking chairs that we inherited, we have 5 rocking chairs.  We do not need this to make it 6.

I found that I really liked re-covering these chairs and can imagine them with lots of colorful fabrics and even covered with patchwork blocks – I can see myself reupholstering more chairs in my future.

I have a list of goals for 2014, but I find that my ADD interferes a lot and my mind is constantly dreaming up something new that needs to get done right now!  That’s how this next project happened.  I knew I was going to get a customer quilt on Friday, so I cleaned my studio on Tuesday when our guild meeting was cancelled.  Cleaning my studio led to me taking everything off my wooden counter for a good wipe-down.  When I originally built this counter, I had planned on covering it with laminate or staining the wood or doing something to cover the wood.  Cleaning it reminded me that I’d never gotten around to “finishing” that project.  You can see a “before” picture in a post I wrote here.  I pulled some fabric out of my stash (a bolt that had never been opened!)  that looked like rocks.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up the bolt of fabric and laid it out on the counter top.  I smiled and thought this was kismet.  Rays of light shown down from the heavens and the angels sang… and my smile “sang” too!

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Doesn’t it look like granite?  I Mod-Podged it down and cut off the excess fabric with an Exacto knife.  This shot was taken while it was fresh on the counter top and still wet, so that’s why you see streaks or cloudiness in areas.  The Mod Podge dries clear.  Here’s a close-up.

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I have more projects in the works telling me I need to add them to my never-ending list  swimming around in my head, but first I need to work on that customer quilt.  I am so looking forward to being back at my quilting machine!

Busy Quilter I Bee

Remember I said I’d show you how I refinished the stairs?  Well, I am sending you to a bunch of different places today so that you can see what you like.  First off, go here to see the pictures of how I re-did my stairs to the basement, which is also my quilting studio.  One of these days I will finish the basement, but it will likely be a little bit at a time.  If you are on Facebook and interested, take a look around there.  I am spreading my wings a bit and becoming somewhat of a DIYer.

Last week I went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  If you haven’t heard of it, just know that it is probably the biggest quilt show on earth.  It was my first time to go to this show or to visit Houston, so it was a bit overwhelming.  You can find plenty of pictures on my Flickr page.

I especially got a big kick out of the Cow Quilt Exhibit, named Moo-ston.  There were lots of amusing quilts.  Make sure you check out the close-up pictures of the udders and other details!  Hopefully it will bring a smile to your face.


When was the last time you had a “Why?” phase.  I’m having one now.  Lots of weird things going on, good things, bad things, twisted things and things I don’t understand… with me asking, “Why?”  I haven’t had any customer quilts since my last post.  Autumn is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for a quilter, when he or she is finishing quilts for her customers to give as Christmas presents.  I haven’t had any customer quilts in over a month.  Why?

Well, I would like to think the universe is taking care of me.  Lots of things have happened in the past month. The biggest thing that’s happened is my Mother-in-Law passed away October 1st.  She was 79, and with the choices she has made for her life and her behavior, especially lately, has been sending out signals that it wouldn’t be long before she leaves us.  And, she left us rather suddenly.  September 22nd we took her to the hospital, because we thought she’d had a stroke.  Long story short, she had a heart attack and never got to go home.  We have since been trying to clear out her house.  So, I am thankful for this time to be able to concentrate on this, but why?  Why did she have to die?  <sigh>

One of the things that happens when you lose a loved one is the reliving of memories.  As we cleared out part of her house, we ran across my MIL’s recipe boxes.  My husband spoke of his mother making biscuits with chocolate gravy for him and his brother when they were small.  He found that recipe in the recipe box and made it for us for breakfast this past weekend.


It looked like pudding to me, and when I tasted it, I could swear it was chocolate pudding by another name.  I looked up the ingredients for each and found that the pudding has eggs in it, which the gravy does not.  I guess you get those on the side.  😉

To distract myself from dwelling too much on the “whys,” I’ve been working on my never ending “to do” list.  I have only a few pictures to share.  First off, I finally finished a charity quilt I’d had for awhile.  I filled it with feathers, but they are not my best feathers – that was the day the doorbell kept ringing, which made the dog bark non-stop (someone was working on our broken porch, but they haven’t finished it yet – that was Sept. 25), and the phone rang off the wall as well.  I was one jumpy quilter that day.

Full shot

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Close-up of block – the quilt maker (who ever she is) did a splendid job on this.  I basically just outlined the courthouse steps in the blocks and then put feathers in the plain, gold blocks

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I also made a floor cloth to put under my kitchen table.  I have wooden floors in the kitchen that are sun-bleached and worn out.  Since I can’t get them fixed right now, I just made a floor cloth out of a painter’s drop cloth.  I painted the squares and then antiqued the cream color and finished it with polyurethane.  It goes with the old world French bistro theme in my kitchen.

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Speaking of floors, I’ve also been working on the stairs to my basement, but I will tell you more about that later.  For now, I’m just tickled that I actually have a quilt top of my own pieced together and ready to quilt.  I haven’t made a quilt for myself in about 1 1/2 years, so this feels good.  I’ve got another that I am hand appliqueing, but that won’t be done for some time.  And, of course, I have tons of them drawn out on paper and in my head.  Lots and lots of other stuff going on here and ideas and projects on my “to do” list, but my brain is turning into mush.  Why?  I don’t know.

What have YOU been up to?  I really do want to know!  Oh, and WHY???  😉